Are small electric delivery vans the future?

Freddie Holmes speaks with two specialist manufacturers about what makes the perfect last-mile delivery vehicle

Last-mile delivery vehicles are due for a redesign. Today’s vans and trucks are bulky, produce harmful tailpipe emissions, guzzle fuel and are rarely optimised for the task at hand: the same van used for package deliveries might also be used by a tradesman to carry tools to a job site. New companies have looked to disrupt the space, bringing new powertrains, redesigned cargo holds and flexible platforms to suit different needs.

Special report: Last-mile delivery

While many are early-stage ventures—and scrambling for business—they bring the agility needed to shake up the market. A common template for the ideal last-mile delivery vehicle can already be seen: vehicles must be electric, lightweight and modular. Ideally, they should also make life more comfortable for those behind the wheel. All in all, there is room for improvement.

Vehicles must be less expensive to buy and run

Switching to a battery electric powertrain is perhaps the most obvious update for a last-mile delivery vehicle. Often idling at the side of the road, a conventional van will create both air and noise pollution on its routes. A battery electric alternative would be near-silent and emit zero tailpipe emissions.

Running costs would

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